CosmicEcho - "Rainbow Morningstar" (Mp3.com 205313)
CosmicEcho - "Blue Void" (Mp3.com 2001, 205312)
CosmicEcho - "CosmicEcho" (Mp3.com 2001, 205107)
From Aural Innovations #20 (July 2002)
CosmicEcho is the moniker used by Pennsylvania based musician Michael Anthony Wingate. Though he's played guitar for over 25 years, Wingate never played in bands nor was his music heard publicly until discovering the internet and making his music available through Mp3.com. Good thing too because Wingate plays a brand of spaced out psychedelia that succeeded in sucking me in throughout these three CD's. On all releases the music is all instrumental with Wingate playing guitars, keyboards and digital drums and his wife Helene Claire Wingate on additional keyboards.
Wingate excels at creating beautifully flowing spacey psychedelic excursions that are peaceful, melodic and mind expanding. The songs are simplistic in their construction, but powerful in their communication. Wingate just plays... but the melodies and multitude of guitar sounds, augmented and embellished by the keyboards, often create an elusive complexity that keeps the music interesting and allows for further discoveries on subsequent listens.
The Rainbow Morningstar CD opens with "Crystal", an interesting combination of flowing melodic space and Dub rhythms. Two or three layers of guitar lines are soon introduced, one being a slow wah'd acidic sound, though still communicating a feeling of serenity. The track then winds down as a rumbling sonic meltdown. What's interesting is how it transitions from the melodic to the intense... it just sort of happened without my really noticing it. An excellent tune. Other highlights include "Cosmic Blue", an aptly titled song featuring beautiful psychedelic guitar soloing against a deep Dub bassline. "Audio Escape" is a more fiery and varied track on which diverse guitar sounds battle with a banquet of electronics. "Mental Mirage" features screaming sonic acid guitar, deep flowing drones, and an underlying metallic feel. And once again it's against that Dub-like rhythm Wingate seems so fond of which provides for an interesting contrast. "Heavy Mind" includes similar killer guitar work. It's intense but highly atmospheric, and I also hear clear traces of Wingate's Hendrix influences. Finally, "Warning Levels" is loaded with bubbling freaky electronics, symphonic keyboards, and totally trippy space guitars. Probably the best example on the album of his guitar style where so much is said with so few notes. And in this sense Wingate brings to mind Dave Gilmour, a guitarist who could say more in a handful of notes than the most proficient shred guitarist could say in a thousand.
Among the highlights on Blue Void is "Space Echoes", a totally spaced rumbling electronic track. You can feel the space waves piercing both ears and soaring through your brain. Soon after I became thoroughly hypnotized as the music transitioned into a slowly drifting mantric stroll through the cosmos. "Lost In Time" is an atmospheric piece that very nicely blends pleasant high tones and low reverberating drones. "Creative Reality" is a kick ass HOT rockin' psychedelic tune. As if Hendrix got put in the transporter and his musical molecules got completely juxtapositioned when reassembled. Definitely one of my favorites on all three CD's. "Spacephonics" is another killer tripped out acid space track. "Electric Sky" is a slow droning journey with both tasteful melodic soloing and screaming acid shredding. And "Fallen Sunrise" is an intense prog rock styled guitar march.
"Space Noise" is a short and appropriately titled opening track on the self-titled CosmicEcho CD featuring pure sonic guitar and space electronics. "Atomic Planet" is a drifting Bluesy spacey jam tune along the Hendrix/Trower axis. Valium paced but peacefully melodic. "Dreams" is an easy-paced acid jam trip alongside a high pitched ethereal keyboard line. "Noise Shift" is another track that stands out as one of my favorite among the three CD's. It's a simple tune, but mixes nice jamming guitar with chaotic (but controlled) crazed guitars, and a proggy feel as well. "Paradise Found" is similar and another favorite. "Mental Prism" is a thundering metallic acidic electronic space excursion that reminds me a lot of the title opening track from Pink Floyd's Obscured By Clouds. Yet another favorite. "Star Voyage" is a still cosmic, but somewhat experimental and minimalist acid rocker. And "Cloudy Night" features some mucho cool space funk!! Got my head boppin' big time as I cut the cosmic rug with this one.
In summary, get your thirsty ears over to Mp3.com and listen to some of Wingate's music. There's loads of tunes to check out there and all the CD's are available for purchase if you dig what you're hearing. Excellent dreamy and rockin' acid space from a musician who takes the old styles we love and puts his own personal stamp on them.
For more information you can visit the CosmicEcho web site at: http://www.mp3.com/CosmicEcho.
Contact via snail mail c/o Michael Wingate; 251 S. Olds Blvd #257-K; Fiarless Hills, PA 19030.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz